Streetwise, active and cool: how do Vilnius adolescents perceive their peers’ linguistic identity

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Mokslo publikacijos / Scientific publications
Document Type:
Straipsnis / Article
Anglų kalba / English
Streetwise, active and cool: how do Vilnius adolescents perceive their peers’ linguistic identity
Alternative Title:
Gatviniai, aktyvistės ir kietuolės: kaip Vilniaus paaugliai suvokia savo bendraamžių kalbinę tapatybę?
In the Journal:
Taikomoji kalbotyra. 2014, 6, p. 1-28
Globali reikšmė; Kalbėtojo vertinimo eksperimentas; Sociolingvistika; Trumpųjų balsių ilginimas; Vietinė reikšmė; Vilniaus paauglių kalba; Vilniaus paauglių socialinės kategorijos.
Global meaning; Lengthening of the short vowels; Local meaning; Social categories; Sociolinguistics; Verbal guise experiment; Vilnius adolescents; Vilnius adolescents' social categories; Vilnius adolescents' speech.
Summary / Abstract:

ENThe current sociolinguistic enterprise is preoccupied with the local meaning of the linguistic resources: How speakers through their engagement in different practices create different social meanings to different linguistic variants. However, the process of the meaning-making is only partly dependent on the person who is performing it. The process of the meaningmaking is not only performed, it is also perceived by the others. In fact, any linguistic resource becomes socially meaningful only when it is recognized as such by the others. Therefore, the main objectives of this article are (1) to advocate for the need to investigate not only the local meaning, discovered through the in-depth ethnographic fieldwork, but also the global meaning of the linguistic resources, (2) to demonstrate how by inclusion of other methodologies, in this case, the verbal guise technique, we can investigate the global meaning of the ethnographically derived data. Based on the ethnographic study, five main social categories of Vilnius adolescents were distinguished: active schoolwise girls, cool girls, cool boys, streetwise girls, and streetwise boys. Different linguistic resources are incorporated in construction of these adolescents’ social categories. But are those linguistic differences local or could they be recognized as having this particular social meaning in other communities of practice? In order to answer this question, the verbal guise experiment was conducted in 3 other schools in the Vilnius dormitory neighborhoods which are very similar in their sociodemographic characteristics to the neighborhood where the ethnographic research was carried out. Most of the adolescents’ linguistic identities which they construct in employing different linguistic resources, to large extent were recognized by the adolescents in the verbal guise experiment.This implies that the social meaning of the linguistic variation, revealed through the sustained ethnographic research, is not locally bound. It is also recognized in other Vilnius dormitory neighborhoods, which in turn might suggest that the meaning of the active schoolwise, the cool, and the streetwise is being created using the same linguistic resources throughout the dormitory neighborhoods of Vilnius. The study also revealed that in order to be perceived as constructing a specific identity, the speaker has continuously to employ a necessary linguistic variation in the identity work. The most interesting result of the verbal guise experiment was most probably Vilnius adolescents’ perception of the lengthening of the short vowels /i/ and /u/ in stressed syllables. The majority of adolescents in the verbal guise experiment perceived lengthening as an indication of a streetwise identity. However, a few informants linked lengthening with the Russian accent. So, it seems that Vilnius adolescents associate lengthening with two social categories: street culture and Lithuanian Russians. Are these categories interrelated? In order to answer this question, we have to carry out a long-term ethnographic study of the street culture in Vilnius dormitory neighborhoods. [From the publication]

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2021-03-25 14:17:02
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